(Oct. 18, 2019) Another session of the Surf Into Integrity program has started at the Stephen Decatur Middle School.
This is an extra-curricular class which has become most popular in recent times, run by the Ocean City Surf Club.
The Ocean City Surf Club is headed by President Tommy Vach and Vice President Rusty Ruszin. The program is the brain child of local attorney Rich Brueckner who is a former prosecutor for Wicomico County.
Brueckner had the unpleasant duty of having to send young people to jail and decided to try to do something to influence these younger folks in a positive way through surfing.
He thought it best to get to these youngsters before their high school years even started and the result is Surf Into Integrity.
The program is conducted with help from members of the Ocean City Surf Club.
The class is based on Shaun Tomson’s book, “The Surfer’s Code,” written along with Patrick Moser, which is 12 lessons relating to conduct and rules in the water easily transferred to lessons for everyday life.
Tomson is originally from South Africa and competed at the highest professional levels for many years, winning the World Championship in 1977.
He is probably most noted for redefining the art of tube riding and is regarded as one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors.
The book is a great read and though simple, contains many useful lessons to be used in the water and in one’s life in general.
Classes are held every Wednesday afternoon at Stephen Decatur Middle School and on the beach in Ocean City every Sunday morning.
Weekly chapter assignments are required reading if the student expects to participate in the Sunday morning surf sessions.
The goal is to have the students learn and improve their surfing while also absorbing these life lessons to gain traction in becoming the best person that he or she can be.
We don’t lecture the kids as much as we ask for and encourage their participation by questioning what they have read and seeing if they are getting the ideas that the book has to offer.
In this sense the classes are more like discussions and the response level by the students is quite high by my estimation.
Twice as many students applied for the class as there was room for. The enthusiasm is palpable.
The Surf Into Integrity program has got to be one of the best offered by the Ocean City Surf Club.
Having a positive influence on our young folks is certainly one of the best things that we can accomplish as a society.
With all the problems and negativity in today’s world a program such as this is refreshing indeed.
Probably the best indicator of this assessment is the reaction and participation of the student. The stoke level is red-lining in this latest edition of Surf Into Integrity at Stephen Decatur Middle School.
– Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Ocean City.